Some people think that the spiritual life should be easy. Today’s readings prove to us that it’s not that way. Jacob wrestles with “some man” in today’s first reading; ostensibly, it’s God himself. They tussle all day long and finally they declare it a draw, but leave poor Jacob injured from the battle. But, in the end, Jacob receives a blessing. That’s the way, brothers and sisters, the spiritual life works. We often wrestle with God in some way or another, and occasionally the battle marks us, but we always end up blessed by the experience, that is, if we’re ready to do battle for the long haul.
I think what’s hard about this is that first you have to identify what the battle is, and then you have to have the courage to stick with it. Maybe you’re struggling with God because he’s calling you to do something new; something you’re not sure if you want on your plate. Or maybe your prayer life has grown stale and you are being called to revitalize it. Or maybe he’s encouraging you to move to a new place in a relationship or in your vocation or whatever it may be. It’s a struggle, and there could be considerable wrestling with God. But you have to identify it. And then stay with it.
All the saints have had to wrestle with God at some point or another. It’s a process of getting over our own inhibitions to the spiritual life and passing the obstacles that we put in the way of our relationship with God. It’s difficult, and it’s scary, and it needs to be surrounded with prayer. Only then can you stay with it and bear its marks, and receive God’s blessings.